OptumRx Spotlights Two Drugs That Treat Rare Liver Diseases

In OptumRx’s latest Drug Pipeline Report, the UnitedHealth Group-owned PBM highlights a pair of drugs that offer long-sought treatments for two forms of liver disease. Because those diseases are so uncommon, the price of those drugs is likely to be quite high.

The drugs in question are Bylvay (odevixibat), which the FDA approved on July 20, and maralixibat, which the agency is expected to approve in late September. Bylvay, which is manufactured by Albireo Pharma, Inc., is the first drug approved for treating pruritus — or persistent itchiness — in all subtypes of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC), a group of three related genetic disorders. Mirum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s maralixibat, if approved, would be the first treatment for patients ages 1 year and older with Alagille Syndrome (ALGS), a rare genetic disorder in which bile ducts are abnormally narrow, malformed and reduced in number.

© 2024 MMIT
Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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